Written by PETA
Get ready to practice your high-fives
and Bronx cheers—here's
our quasi-monthly round-up of animal friends and foes:
Written by Michelle Sherrow
Update: The Collier County School District has officially agreed with PETA and the family of the harassed student, saying that Mary Ellen Alexander "acted insensitively and inappropriately." The school board reassigned her to another school, is requiring her to be retrained, and has placed a disciplinary letter in her district and state files.
The district is also considering replacing animal dissection with modern, humane alternatives, which PETA has offered to supply.
The following was originally posted on February 22, 2011.
School bullying usually involves a student making another student miserable. But in a new twist, a Florida teacher reportedly bullied and taunted a student simply for exercising her legal right to choose not to dissect a frog. Now the Florida State Board of Education, prompted by PETA's call for the termination of the teacher, has opened an investigation.
According to the seventh grader and her mother, the North Naples Middle School teacher snuck up behind the student, shoved a bag of dead frogs in her face, and then dropped the bag on her desk. When the student began to cry, the teacher laughed at her in front of her classmates. The teacher then allegedly told students in other classes that if they tried to opt out of dissection, they would be sent to the principal's office for disciplinary action.
Not only did this teacher apparently violate students' right under Florida law to opt out of dissection, her reported behavior also may have violated the School Board of Collier County's policy against bullying and harassment and the Florida Department of Education's Code of Ethics. North Naples Middle School's principal initially told the student's mother that she would not be taking any action—the school district and state board of education stepped in only after PETA and the media became involved.
We are calling on school district and state officials to remove this teacher from her post and revoke her state educator's certificate if the student's report is corroborated. We have also offered to buy the school modern, humane computer programs in order to allow the school to replace dissection entirely.
In this violent world, students' feelings of empathy for animals are a virtue that should be fostered, not belittled, by their educators and mentors.
Written by Michelle Sherrow
Indian frogs are jumping up and down on their lily pads as Indian colleges and universities prepare to end classroom dissections in zoology and life-sciences courses.
Dr. B.K. Sharma has served on an expert committee to compare dissection to modern approaches to science education. According to Dr. Sharma, the University Grants Commission (UGC)—the regulatory body for higher education in India—has chosen to take a stand against dissection by accepting the expert committee's recommendation that zoology and life-science students in India should no longer be required to perform dissections.
The move follows PETA India's extensive campaign to urge the UGC and its expert committee to do away with dissection requirements. If implemented, the change could save the lives of approximately 19 million animals each year. The UGC has now sent its recommendation to India's Department of Science and Technology for its input before the ban becomes official.
"The negative impact of this organized violence on young minds is already under scrutiny from psychologists and psychiatrists," says Dr. Sharma. "For this reason, I propose that the social science concept of ahisma, or nonviolence, be brought into life-sciences education if we wish to keep our reputation as a nation with traditional values and a compassionate disposition."
The UGC's panel of experts came to the same conclusion as has nearly every published study: Modern non-animal methods such as computer simulations, interactive CD-ROMs, films, charts, and lifelike models teach anatomy and biology as well as or better than do archaic and cruel animal laboratories. And it isn't just frogs who will be spared—mice, rats, guinea pigs, and rabbits have all suffered and died in university laboratories. As an added bonus, schools will no longer be required to spend money on animals for dissections in zoology and life-science courses, so more funds should be available for other academic programs.
Unfortunately, dissection remains legal stateside—for now. If you know of a student who is under pressure to dissect animals, check out peta2's wealth of information on dissection for each grade level.
PETA and peta2, PETA's youth division, have launched a brand-new anti-dissection video timed to coincide with "Cut Out Dissection" Month. The video, titled "7 Reasons to Cut Out Dissection," points out that animals such as frogs and cats often suffer before they are cut up in classrooms and that, according to numerous studies, humane, non-animal teaching methods such as the use of computer software are actually cheaper, safer, and just as effective (indeed, often more effective) at teaching anatomy and physiology than dissection is. Ethics and science are both on the animals' side!
Included in the video are photos taken at Illinois Central College (ICC) in which frogs and rats are shown being kept in cramped and filthy conditions inside a school closet before being cut open and killed in archaic experiments. Many frogs drowned after the sinks they were confined to became clogged and the animals couldn't escape. The photos also show dying rats with most of their fur missing and dead rats who have been cannibalized by their cagemates. Please take a moment to drop ICC a line urging it to abolish all experiments on live animals, just as its neighbors Illinois State University and Oakton Community College have done in their physiology courses.
Seven doesn't seem like nearly enough reasons not to dissect, does it? If you can think of some others that we missed, feel free to post them below. And don't forget to share this video with all the students and teachers you know.
Written by Alisa Mullins
UPDATE: The University of Utah has announced that it no longer will purchase animals from North Utah Valley Animal Shelter or any other shelter for experiments!
Remember the North Utah Valley Animal Shelter (NUVAS)? You know, the only animal shelter in Utah that still betrays dogs and cats by selling them to the University of Utah for invasive, painful, and deadly experiments? PETA recently obtained photos of nearly 50 dogs whom NUVAS had sold for experiments, and here are two of them:
These sweet dogs, who were probably once someone's companions, may have ended up like other dogs who were recently purchased from NUVAS: killed and dissected after having holes cut into their necks and chests and pacemakers implanted in their hearts in order to induce an irregular heartbeat.
How many more animals like Chance and Scout will NUVAS betray? Perhaps none—if we all share these dogs' photos online and call for an end to NUVAS' shameful practice of selling animals for experiments—and get our Facebook friends and Twitter tweeps to do the same.
Written by Lindsay Pollard-Post
We've never understood why any child needs to poke around inside an amphibian, but holy "Jumping Frogs of Calaveras County": iTunes now offers a virtual frog dissection iPad app! In honor of this sophisticated and humane alternative to dissection, PETA is presenting its creator, Emantras Interactive Technologies, with a Mark Twain Ethical Science Award.
Every year, millions of frogs, cats, pigs, and other animals suffer and are killed for dissection even though modern non-animal teaching methods such as interactive computer programs are educationally superior, more economical, and safer (do you really want your kid handling formaldehyde?). Now, thanks to Emantras' new app—which can be downloaded on iTunes for $4.99—students who are lucky enough to own iPads can use touch-enabled virtual dissection tools to explore and manipulate a frog's organs in 3D.
PETA's Mark Twain Ethical Science Award recognizes its namesake's staunch opposition to the abuse of animals in experiments. Hailed as America's first animal advocate, Twain said of animal experimentation, "The pains which it inflicts upon unconsenting animals is the basis of my enmity towards it, and it is to me sufficient justification of the enmity without looking further."
Teaching students anatomy without harming animals? We think Mark Twain would approve. And thanks to the award, media outlets are abuzz about this new leap toward keeping classrooms cruelty-free. So how about channeling your inner Twain and taking action to cut out dissection? While you're doing that, I'm going to light up my corn-cob pipe and while away the afternoon dreaming about how much iWant an iPad.
Written by Amy Skylark Elizabeth
It's been years since my high school biology class, but I still remember the smell of the rotting pig corpses that we mutilated over the course of a nightmarish three-day lab. Piled in the corner of the room in a black garbage bag, the carcasses emanated a rancid smell that only got worse each day, and after each lab period, we all ate lunch in the same room—the lab doubled as our cafeteria.
Today, though, it's the sweet smell of victory that I'm waking up to. Nine months ago, a compassionate student at Oakton Community College contacted PETA about a professor who was having students in an anatomy and physiology class cut open live rats and mudpuppies to observe how their organs worked. We immediately contacted school officials to share information on the intelligent, complex animals who were being tormented and killed for these experiments and presented officials with cruelty-free and effective educational alternatives. This week, Oakton Community College let us know that it has stopped using live animals in ALL of its classes!
We're urging all schools (hear that, ASU?) to follow Oakton's enlightened path and replace their cruel classroom animal experiments with modern, more effective non-animal learning methods. Biology is the study of life—it just doesn't make any sense to kill animals to teach it. Urge schools in your area to get smart and go cruelty-free.
Written by Logan Scherer
New clothes and a new crush may get many students excited about school, but the surest way to make someone dread biology class is to mention that cruel old standby, dissection.
Since Steve-O knows that only a "jackass" would force a kid to cut up an animal and call it "science," the Wildboyz star was on hand outside Fairfax High School in Los Angeles this afternoon to kick off Cut Out Dissection Month.
His new ad aims to empower kids to fight for their rights not to dissect on animals and to pressure educators to provide alternatives to dissection.
Every year, nearly 6 million animals, including frogs, rats, pigs, and cats, are cut open in cruel, outdated dissection exercises that teach students to dismiss concerns about animal suffering. It's no secret that many violent offenders, including serial killers get their start abusing animals.
Kinder, more effective alternatives to dissection exist and offer students the opportunity to focus on learning instead of cringing through animal cut-ups. In fact, I'm willing to bet that if all schools implemented only humane biology lessons, students would forever remember that this duodenum, not this one, is found in their small intestine.
Written by Karin Bennett
P.S. More pics of Steve-O's unveiling after the jump.
You're out for a walk with your dog when two men suddenly appear and grab him before you have a chance to react. In an instant, your canine companion is gone. Then—as if that weren't horrifying enough—you later learn that your beloved friend is caged in a medical school laboratory, slated to be cut open and killed in a training exercise.
It's every animal guardian's worst nightmare, and it allegedly happened recently to Carmen Valverde of Lima, Peru, and her dog, Tomas.
After Tomas was stolen, a neighbor of Carmen's who works at the teaching hospital in the University of San Marcos recognized him while looking in the surgery room in which the school routinely dissects dogs.
The neighbor alerted Carmen and, wearing a lab coat, Carmen was able to sneak into the facility at the university and rescue Tomas, who was already sedated and strapped down for dissection.
While the school claims that it only dissects "dogs [who] don't have owners," after Tomas' story was made public, at least one other guardian found her missing dog in the same laboratory.
We're following this case and will keep you posted on any developments.
This problem isn't limited to Peru. Animals suffer in laboratories no matter where they come from, but laboratories that are willing to pay for animals provide an incentive for unscrupulous people to get animals wherever they can—often from our streets and yards. "Bunchers" may drug animals, pose as animal control officers, or answer "free to a good home" ads to get puppies and kittens to sell.
You can help end this nightmare by doing the following:
Written by Jeff Mackey
As a Midwestern gal, I would like to take you on a quick, two-stop, cruelty-free tour of my section of the U.S. It's a little something I'm calling the Midwest Victory Tour. Sometimes I feel as though this part of the country gets a bum rap, so this tour is to give props to two forward-thinking Midwestern educational institutions, one in Wisconsin and one in Utah, that have recently stopped exploiting animals. If only all schools could be as progressive.
First stop on the Midwest Victory Tour is a school district in Wisconsin. A concerned citizen contacted us after learning that the district was offering a kids' summer science course that included six dissections as well as an activity in which students were given a live rat to "care for" throughout the duration of the course. We contacted the school immediately about cutting out the old-school classroom dissections and to inform school officials that rats need constant care and compassion, not a summer course's worth of "caretaking." After nearly a year of persistent follow-up, we are excited to let you know that this course is finally history!
Our next stop on the tour takes us to a Utah educational nonprofit that was recommending experiments in which live goldfish were put in ice baths in order to cause hypothermia. Since the experimenters probably wouldn't do this sort of thing to Fluffy, the family kitty, we sent the nonprofit a letter outlining why it's cruel to freeze any kitten—including sea kittens. After hearing our suggestion for cruelty-free coursework, the nonprofit has agreed to no longer suggest shocking the nervous systems of these adorable goldkittens for classroom experiments.
Well, that's the end of our Midwest Victory Tour. See, it's not all beef-expos and pus-farms in the Midwest. There's some compassion for animals too.
Written by Shawna Flavell
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Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights? Read more.